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stratford
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Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Introductory material

In case this would be of help to anyone, I have copied out the first paragraph from the "Intoduction" to "A Midsummer Night's Dream" from one of my complete works of Shakespeare.

A study of Shakespeare’s development as a dramatic artist shows that one of his supreme achievements during his “middle period” consists in combining heterogeneous elements in a single play. The dramas of Shakespeare’s predecessors all exist on a smaller scale, mostly adhering to one particular type and keeping within more limited resources of style and subject matter. However, even in his very first comedies, "The Two Gentlemen of Verona," "The Comedy of Errors," and "Love’s Labor’s Lost," we see Shakespeare widening the scope of the dramatic genre to which these plays belong and introducing new elements taken over from other sections of the literary tradition of the past. "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," then, which must have been written about 1595, combines for the first time totally disparate worlds into one unified whole; the sharp contrasts brought together there would have destroyed the play’s balance in the hands of any lesser playwright. For, indeed, it required Shakespeare’s genius to bring together Bottom and Puck, the crude realism of the artisans and the exquisite delicacy of the fairy world, the stylized and pointed repartee of the Athenian lovers and the dignified manner of Theseus and Hippolyta. What we find are contrasts on many levels, exemplified by diversified means. Yet Shakespeare strikes an equilibrium between these contrasts, reconciling and fusing the discordant factors within the organic body of his comedy. "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," therefore, not only exhibits bold contrasts and divergent elements of plot, atmosphere, and character; it also illustrates the unifying power of the spirit of comedy and the poetic imagination. We further find that the play’s unity is reinforced by a subtle technique of counterpoint and juxtaposition, a skillful contrasting of different strands of plot, and the creation of an atmosphere full of illusion, wonder, and strangeness, all of which facilitate the many transitions occurring during the course of the play.

"The Complete Signet Classic Shakespeare," HBJ, 1972.

"A Midsummer Night’s Dream," Edited by Wolfgang Clemen, “Introduction,” p. 524.
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Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Introductory material : RSC Video Clips 2005 and photos of other historic productions

[ Edited ]
Here are some nice little video clips here of Gregory Doran, the Associate Director of a 2005 Royal Shakespeare Company production of MND, being interviewed about various aspects of the play:-

http://www.rsc.org.uk/home/3500.aspx

Some notes and photographs of the famous 1970 production by Peter Brook, with comparisons of other UK Stratford productions:-

http://www.touchstone.bham.ac.uk/exhibition/MND/home.html

Photographs/drawings of some historic 'Director's Concepts' of MND from 1867 (New York) onwards:-

http://www.lib.washington.edu/Subject/drama/msndconcepts.html

Message Edited by Choisya on 02-04-200709:23 AM

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Laurel
Posts: 5,747
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
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Re: Introductory material : RSC Video Clips 2005 and photos of other historic productions

I'm glad Doran mentioned the phase of the moon in his fourth clip, because that has been puzzling me. Full moon? New (no) moon? Slivery moon? Silvery moon? : )



Choisya wrote:
Here are some nice little video clips here of Gregory Doran, the Associate Director of a 2005 Royal Shakespeare Company production of MND, being interviewed about various aspects of the play:-

http://www.rsc.org.uk/home/3500.aspx

Some notes and photographs of the famous 1970 production by Peter Brook, with comparisons of other UK Stratford productions:-

http://www.touchstone.bham.ac.uk/exhibition/MND/home.html

Photographs/drawings of some historic 'Director's Concepts' of MND from 1867 (New York) onwards:-

http://www.lib.washington.edu/Subject/drama/msndconcepts.html

Message Edited by Choisya on 02-04-200709:23 AM




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